by Levi Andrew Noe

The clouds stand poised above us like sumo wrestlers in leotards, bursting at the seams. I chuckle to myself and you ask why, but I can’t just say, “Because leotard is a funny word.” Of course you’d ask me to explain, and then I’d have to retrace the chaotic steps I took in my world of thoughts to come to such a statement. By that time the humor would have been lost, the simple joy of daydreaming would be gone. It just isn’t worth it.

You say I keep things from you. I want to tell you that it’s not true, but just like other times when I’m laughing or weeping in my mind I reply, “I’m crazy, you know this. It wouldn’t work to explain it.”

Don’t frown like that, even though I love the ugly way it makes you more beautiful. Don’t heave out such a heavy sigh and don’t, please don’t look away to the clouds out the window. It will make me giggle again.

And then you’ve had it. You turn on me like the sun on Mercury and I implore you not to scorch the messenger. But the loneliness, the distances I retreat to, the love affair I have with my imagination, all the times I have held you in the dark with my body while my spirit soared the astral realms. It all comes raining down on you just as the clouds erupt and it’s too much, too much for me. I let loose with a belly laugh, thinking of gargantuan Asians in a ballet and a crowd being rained upon by stitches and sweat and saliva, but unable to look away.

You turn around, stare out the window at the rain, and when you return you’re stained like the sky. I remember how much I hate myself for loving the way you look when you cry. But it’s too late to explain away anything. You’ve picked up your coat and your keys, you tell me you’re leaving, and you hope that some day I’ll find someone who I can share my madness with. And the hardest part, you continue speaking so clearly through tears, the hardest part is that it’s the insanity in you that I love most, even though it’s what keeps you from me.

You have more to say but instead you turn away. A cold, electric tempest pours in as you open the door and when it closes I think to myself that the clouds and the rain are much more like the weather on Venus—brimstone, poisonous, caustic. But it’s too late. I’ll have to share my thoughts with paper and pen and wonder whether you were the ink or the blank page.

“Writers Make Terrible Partners” originally appeared in Connotation Press.

Levi Andrew Noe was born and raised in Denver, CO. He is a writer, a yogi, an entrepreneur, and an amateur oneironaut. Levi won first prize in 2011 and 2013 in Spirit First’s international poetry competition. His most recent or forthcoming works are in Ink, Sweat & Tears, Connotation Press, Boston Literary Magazine, Crack the Spine, Eunoia Review, and Scrutiny Journal. He is the editor-in-chief and founder of the podcast Rocky Mountain Revival, Audio Art Journal.